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Senate: Reparations Are Not Income

The Senate has passed legislation preventing federal agencies from counting Holocaust restitution payments as income when determining eligibility for federal assistance programs.

“These payments are not income, but gifts from the people and the government of Germany who are trying to make amends for one of the darkest periods in human history,” Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) said.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House last year by U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman and recently passed there.

DeConcini, who introduced the legislation in the Senate, did so after receiving a letter from Fanny Schlomowitz, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor living in a government-subsidized one-room apartment in Phoenix.

Schlomowitz wrote that her rent was to increase by four times the current amount because the Department of Housing and Urban Development considered her restitution payments as income.

Prior to the legislation, there was no law applying to all federal agencies that determined if restitution payments are income or not.

President Clinton is expected to sign the bill into law later this summer.

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